Steps Toward Grad School

There is a list of programs in history of science at the history of science society. North Carolina State University provides a list of Science, Technology, & Society Programs, and there is a different list at the University of Michigan.

You can find another page providing information to prospective graduate students in physics at PhysLink. A list of graduate programs in all subjects with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses is at

Once you have found a program which appeals to you, you may request applications for admission and financial aid on the web or by e-mail.

You might consider trying Get Recruited, a program which collects information about you and sends it to a number of participating graduate schools, which may then contact you.

Graduate Programs in Physics, Astronomy, and Related Fields,  published annually by the American Institute of Physics, is a great reference book, sent to all undergraduate physics departments. At SSU copies may be borrowed from the department advisor.

By November or December you should narrow your interest to five or six departments.
Your choice may be based on the reputation of the department, difficulty of gaining admission, strength in your specialty if you have one, diversity of offerings if you have not yet chosen a specialty, size of school and department, geographical preferences, and other criteria. Note that you need not distinguish between public and private universities or between in-state and out-of-state institutions. Nearly all those admitted to Ph.D. programs in the sciences are supported by teaching or research assistantships, and most tuition is waived. It is helpful to visit some departments. Make an appointment with the graduate program advisor. Take the tour, then talk with some grad students. Don't forget to ask where the graduates go after they finish. Most applications are due in January, February, or March. The SSU calendar wisely allows you time in January to fill out all the application forms. Be certain to allow adequate time for those who will write letters of recommendation for you.

Find out whether you need to take the general or advanced GRE and whether you must take it by November. Plan ahead! NOTE: A few departments, notably UC Berkeley and Princeton, have earlier deadlines. To apply to these schools you must take the GRE in November and have your application in by December.

By April you will have your offers.
Now is the time to visit departments not yet visited. Happy choosing!

Before or after beginning grad school, you may be interested in the web pages of the Association for Support of Graduate Students.
Another very helpful website for those aspiring to Ph.D.s is that of

You might wish to read Careers in Science and Engineering: A Student Planning Guide to Grad School and Beyond,
an online book prepared by the Committee On Science, Engineering, And Public Policy of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

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